Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .
If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997
Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.
Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…
Let’s begin with a teaser. What was (our glorious founder) Stewart’s favourite Christmas song? I have told you in a previous edition of this august publication. Anyone? You at the back? No, it wasn’t *n*th*r R*ck and R*ll Chr*stm*s by G*ry Gl*tt*r. Anyone else? Correct. Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens. Why am I reminding you of this? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell ee...
Last week a charity concert took place. Not very interesting in itself, but the people responsible for this concert were going to donate a proportion of the money raised to The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund (Take a peek at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Geraldine-Smith3 to see how the fundraising is going. Every penny has gone straight to the Bobby Moore Fund.). I was invited along to speak on behalf of the fund at the end.
It was a concert given by the ‘Sounds International Community Choir’. That suggests a collective of people from all over the world, doesn’t it? No. The only international link was that some of the members were English; the majority was Scottish. Any road up, high falluting name aside, they produced an acceptable sound and the evening’s performance of Christmas songs and old standards was quite enjoyable.
A very nice interlude was provided by the choir from a local primary school who gave us some more modern fayre including Jessie J’s Price Tag and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.
Another interlude was utterly at odds with the rest of the evening’s entertainment. Just before the interval, a tall man wearing full highland dress was introduced. He was a ‘special guest’ the programme assured us. He swaggered his way onto the ‘stage’ and not only was his attire a bit over the top, so was his hair. It was the most gravity-defying quiff I think I have ever seen on any man who wasn’t doing an Elvis piss-take. His colour was weird too. He was orange. Not tanned. Actually orange. It really showed off his far too white and perfect teeth. He began to belt out his song. It was called ‘My Scottish Home’ and was supposed to be one of those ‘Flower of Scotland’ or ‘Caledonia’ type of songs that made you proud to be Scottish. Unfortunately, this song was so utterly cheesy, it just made you want to throw up. It was riddled with awful lines like ‘You can take the man from Scotland, but you can’t take Scotland from the man’ or ‘Lang may yer lum reek’ (Trans: Long may your chimney produce smoke. [That sounds like a euphemism to me. - Ed.]) If anyone out there in Gramblerland can remember the dreadful entertainer Glen Daly, you will appreciate just how awful this performance was (Click here for an example.). Jack Alexander, Andy Stewart and Kenneth McKellar must have been spinning in their graves. (Then again, perhaps it was right up their graveyard and they were shoogling their kilts. They can’t touch you for it.) Compared to this performance, Donald Where’s Yer Troosers was a high art.
Luckily, he didn’t reappear in the second half. Not to sing, anyway. He did however, sit directly in front of me. If this concert had been anything other than a charity event, I would have asked for some money back because I was in a seat with a restricted view. Blimey, that quiff was high.
Anyway, as the show progressed, I jotted down a few notes of what I wanted to say at the end. I planned to explain about The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund and the reason for that name. I would tell the audience about Stewart and his reasons for donating to the Bobby Moore Fund and why we continued to do so in his memory. I would tell them some of the fundraising events that we had organised. Finally, I would thank them for their generosity.
I had it all thought out. That was what I intended to say. Then the choir sang the last song of the evening. What was it? If you haven’t already guessed, it was Merry Christmas Everyone. If I had a superstitious nature, I might have said that Stewart planned it. I haven’t got a superstitious nature, though [Neither have I. It’s bad luck to be superstitious. - Ed.]. But I did think it was really weird that of all the dozens of Christmas songs there are, they should choose to sing the very song that Stewart liked so much.
That totally threw me. I headed to the microphone with a tear in my eye and blurted out something about that being Stewart’s favourite Christmas song, I quickly thanked them all for their generosity and headed back to my seat as soon as I could, lest the tears came.
Of course, it might have been a wig.
There is only one way to end this week’s (g)ramble. It has to be a link to Stewart’s favourite Crimbo song. Here is Shaky in a rather suspect video for Merry Christmas Everyone.
My favourite footie story this week? On Tuesday evening a Celtic supporter in Manchester to watch his team play Man City was arrested. His crime? He threw a half-eaten hamburger at a police horse. Poor horse. It might have been severely traumatised. After all, that hamburger could have been related to it. [I would just like to apologise for the lack of topicality of that gag. - Ed.]
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 10th of December? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Victor Mclaglen 1886 (Boxer and first World War veteran who became an ectaw. Although he once fought an exhibition bout with world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, a lot of his boxing took place in a circus where members of the public were offered $25 if they could go three rounds with him. Hey, you might end up brain-damaged, but you’d have $25.), Dorothy Lamour 1914 (Ectress. Known as the ‘Sarong Queen’.), Dan Blocker 1928 (Hoss Cartwright.), Ken Campbell 1941 (Ectaw and director. Famously, a loose cannon in the theatrical world. Once staged Neil Oram’s play The Warp. It lasted 22 hours.), Kyu Sakamoto 1941 (Singer famous for probably the only Japanese song most westerners know. Time for our first clip of the week. Ladeez and genullum I give you Sukiyaki.), Peter Sarstedt 1941 (One of three brothers to have solo hits. Older brother Richard aka Eden Kane had a 1961 number one with Well, I Ask You. Younger brother Robin had a 1976 hit with My Resistance is Low. Peter’s biggest hit was this from 1969 .), Anne Gloag 1942 (Clippie.), Clive Anderson 1952 (Don’t talk about that Bee Gees incident. What this?), Susan Dey 1952 (David Cassidy’s sister.), Paul Hardcastle 1957 (Time for a-nu-nu-nu-nu-nother clip.), Kenneth Branagh 1960 (Luvvie.), Brian Molko 1972 (Malcolm of the Flaming Creatures. What? You want another clip? All right then. All together now... A friend in need's a friend indeed...), Meg White 1974 (A stripe; a white one.) and Charlie Adam 1985 (Footie bloke.).
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? We won. I mean proper won. We actually got more than our stake money back. Yay! £4.12! Woo hoo! We actually won £1.92. Hmm. It’s not that brilliant, is it? Let’s see how the games went. Read on...
Birmingham vs Barnsley - Prediction Home win
Result - Birmingham 0 Barnsley 3
The Tykes led on 38 minutes when Barnsley defender Marc Roberts headed in from close range.
But Blues buckled after home midfielder David Davis was red-carded for his second booking on 71 minutes. Pillock!
Davis's former Wolves youth team-mate Sam Winnall then cashed in, scoring twice in the final six minutes.
Burton Albion vs Rotherham - Prediction Home win
Result - Burton 2 Rotherham 1
The Brewers hit the front when Chris O'Grady's blocked shot fell to Jackson Irvine, who struck from 10 yards for his seventh goal of the season.
Matty Palmer doubled the lead when he collected a weak clearance and fired a 20-yard shot into the top corner.
Tom Adeyemi converted Joe Mattock's cross for a late Millers consolation.
Fulham vs Reading - Prediction Home win
Result - Fulham 5 Reading 0
Chris Gunter headed into his own net early on before Chris Martin's shot from outside the box made it 2-0.
Reading's Danny Williams was sent off soon after for kicking out at Stefan Johansen.
Sone Aluko fired in Fulham's third from inside the area, Johansen's sublime finish made it 4-0 and Martin scored a free-kick to complete the rout.
Norwich vs Brentford - Prediction Home win
Result - Norwich 5 Brentford 0
The Canaries started well and Jacob Murphy soon scrambled them in front.
After Murphy was fouled in the box by Harlee Dean, Graham Dorrans tapped in the second on the rebound after his penalty was saved by Daniel Bentley.
Robbie Brady slotted in from Alex Pritchard's pass, Nelson Oliveira smashed home and Pritchard stabbed in to seal victory.
Sheffield Wednesday vs Preston NE - Prediction Home win
Result - Sheffield Wednesday 2 Preston North End 1
Fernando Forestieri's header put the Owls ahead early on, but the striker was sent off for a second-half off-the-ball incident with Ben Pearson.
Steven Fletcher's penalty doubled the lead before Doyle pulled one back.
Preston team-mates Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford came to blows after Doyle failed to play Beckford in as North End looked for an equaliser.
Not a bad week for The Grambler. Can he/she/it do even better this week? [Don’t talk wet. - Ed.]
Game - Result - Odds
Aston Villa vs Wigan - Prediction Home win - 8/13
Bradford vs Charlton - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Fleetwood vs Walsall - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Oxford Utd vs Oldham - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Newport County vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win - 17/20
The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
Almost as whopping as last week.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you what record is held by Kevin Nolan. I meant in footballing terms. I wasn’t suggesting that he was actually holding a disc. Yes, he holds the record of having played more Premiershit games than any other ‘uncapped’ player. He played a total of 399 times in the top division but was never called upon to represent his country.
One for this week? Let’s head to Germany. Two teams have similar names - Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen. Only one letter different in the first word of each, but what do Bayern and Bayer refer to? Have fun down the pub with that one.
As usual, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, as I wrote this week’s edition, I heard of the demise of yet another famous person. Greg Lake stayed on this planet for just nine months longer than his former sidekick, Keith Emerson. I have to say, I was never a fan of seventies supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I admitted at the time that they were all great musicians, but their overblown pompous version of progressive rock just didn’t appeal to me. However, in 1975 the most beautiful Christmas song I had ever heard was played on the radio. It was gentle, haunting; not the usual yuletide fayre at all. And it contained a section from my favourite classical piece, Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije Suite. It was just brilliant. Stewart loved Merry Christmas Everyone, but this is my favourite Christmas song. The biggest shock to me at the time was that it was written and sung by Greg Lake. This was a completely different side to him. What a pity it was a one off. I never appreciated any other piece of music from him. But that one song? Pure class. So, to end, here is a link to a version of the song he performed a few years ago. It features Ian Anderson on flute. As the expression goes, what's not to like?
Incidentally, I have the feeling that Simon Cowell will not be behind this year’s Christmas number one.